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Roger McDonald








The Following (fiction, Random House 2013)

When Colts Ran (fiction, Random House 2010)

The Ballad of Desmond Kale (fiction, Random House 2006)

The Tree in Changing Light (non-fiction, 2001)

Mr Darwin’s Shooter (fiction, Picador 1998)

The Slap (fiction, Picador 1996)

Water Man (fiction, Picador 1993)

Shearer’s Motel (non-fiction, Picador 1992)

Rough Wallaby (fiction, Picador 1988)

Slipstream (fiction, Picador 1982)

1915 (fiction, Picador 1979)




Roger McDonald was born at Young, New South Wales, and educated at country schools and in Sydney. He began his working life as a teacher, ABC producer, and book editor, wrote poetry for several years, but in his thirties turned to fiction, expressing the feeling that for him, at least, poetry was “unable to express a full range of characters and moods, the larger panorama of Australian life that I felt was there to portray”.

His first novel was 1915, a novel of Gallipoli, winner of the Age Book of the Year, and made into a highly successful eight-part ABC-TV mini-series (now on DVD). Slipstream, Rough Wallaby, Water Man and The Slap followed, each of these novels drawing intensively on imaginative, poetic takes on rural living. “The poetry of fiction is not a writing style but something in people’s lives, where a place or a season, an occupation or an obsession transforms existence – where something powerful but not perhaps well understood by the participants creates the drama out of a handful of dust and a few drops of water.” “I like the humour of observation,”: he says. “Describe accurately, get a laugh, the sting of truth is always surprising. Trust the Australian accent and find connection to the rocks and dirt as swift as lightning.”

Since 1980 McDonald has lived on farms (no farm animals except poultry and a corrugated iron sheep, these days) outside Braidwood, south-eastern New South Wales, with intervals spent in Sydney and New Zealand. His account of travelling the outback with a team of New Zealand shearers, Shearers’ Motel, won the National Book Council Banjo Award for non-fiction. His bestselling novel Mr Darwin’s Shooter, was awarded the New South Wales, Victorian, and South Australian Premiers’ Literary Awards, and the National Fiction Award at the 2000 Adelaide Writers’ Week. The Ballad Of Desmond Kale won the 2006 Miles Franklin Award and South Australian Festival Prize for Fiction. A long story that became part of When Colts Ran was awarded the O. Henry Prize (USA) in 2008.



When Colts Ran: Shortlisted for the 2011 Miles Franklin Award

The Ballad of Desmond Kale: The 2006 Miles Franklin Award, South Australian Festival Prize for Fiction

Mr Darwin’s Shooter: NSW Premier’s Award for Fiction, Victorian Premier’s Award for Fiction, South Australian Premier’s Award for Fiction, National Fiction Award; Shortlisted for the 1999 Miles Franklin Award

Water Man: Shortlisted for the 1994 Miles Franklin Award

Shearers’ Motel:  1993 Banjo National Book Council Banjo Award for non-fiction

1915:  The Age Book of the Year 1979;  South Australian Biennial Literature Prize in 1980.


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